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An experimental new COVID-19 pill will reportedly cut rates of hospitalisation and death by almost 90% among patients suffering mild to moderate infections.
It’s hoped that, if given approval, this Pfizer-manufactured pill – named PAXLOVID™ – will be taken by patients at home twice a day, helping to prevent conditions from deteriorating, while keeping newly-infected people from having to go to hospital.
This early trial followed 775 adults who had been diagnosed with mild to moderate coronavirus, with at least one risk factor for the disease becoming more severe. For example, obese or older patients.
It was found that those taking the drug, alongside another antiviral, saw an 89% reduction in their combined rate of hospitalisation or death after one month, when compared with those taking a placebo.
Out of those treated with PAXLOVID™, just 0.8% were hospitalised within three days of experiencing symptoms, and it was found that there were no deaths 28 days after treatment.
Patients given a placebo had a hospitalisation rate of 7%, and, sadly, seven deaths were also recorded within this group after 28 days.
It was found that rates were similar among patients treated within five days of symptom onset. Out of the group treated with the new pill, 1% were hospitalised, compared with 6.7% among those within the placebo group. There were also 10 deaths within this second group.
Pfizer’s chairman and CEO, Albert Bourla, described today’s news as being, ‘a real game-changer in the global efforts to halt the devastation of this pandemic’:
These data suggest that our oral antiviral candidate, if approved or authorized by regulatory authorities, has the potential to save patients’ lives, reduce the severity of COVID-19 infections, and eliminate up to nine out of ten hospitalizations.
Given the continued global impact of COVID-19, we have remained laser-focused on the science and fulfilling our responsibility to help healthcare systems and institutions around the world while ensuring equitable and broad access to people everywhere.
Following recommendations given by an independent Data Monitoring Committee, and in consultation with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Pfizer has stated that it will now cease further study enrolment ‘due to the overwhelming efficacy demonstrated in these results’.
The pharmaceutical company intends to submit the data ‘as part of its ongoing rolling submission to the US FDA for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) as soon as possible’.
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